Seminary Graduation

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not
to be ashamed, rightly diving the Word of Truth.
II Timothy 2:15

After five years of arduous labor in a demanding theological curriculum, and following a week of challenging final examinations, Seminarians David J. Mensing and Daniel P. Mensing, on May 29 and 30,  underwent a grueling two-day exit colloquy of the Conference pastors chaired by Pastor Edward J. Worley, President of the Concordia Lutheran Conference and chairman of its Committee on Theological Education.  All the pastors of the Conference save one took part in the colloquy, both witnessing the answers of the students and asking them questions.

At the conclusion of the colloquy, the pastors were unanimously satisfied that both students had successfully passed it and that, on the basis of this colloquy and of the annual colloquies conducted following the close of each academic year, as well as on the basis of their academic record over the past five years, both men were fit and prepared to undertake the pastoral office of a local congregation at the call of the Holy Spirit.  By God’s grace each of them was “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (II Timothy 2:15).  Their graduation was thereupon authorized by the Committee on Theological Education, at which time each graduate would be publicly recognized as candidatus reverendi ministerii — a candidate of the reverend ministry, eligible to receive a call.

A special divine worship service, including the graduation rites, was then held at Peace Ev. Lutheran Church in Oak Forest on Sunday afternoon, June 1st.  The local Pastor, Professor David T. Mensing, served as liturgist (TLH, p. 41) with Pastor and Professor Robert J. Lietz of Oak Park, Illinois, assisting.  Between the Epistle and Gospel readings, the choir of Peace congregation sang “How Beauteous Are Their Feet,” based on Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15.

The sermon for this blessed occasion was preached by Pastor Edward J. Worley of Seattle, Washington, as noted above the President of the Conference and chairman of its Committee on Theological Education.  Using as his text the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy in II Timothy 2:2, Pastor Worley chose as his topical theme: The Importance of Sound Theological Training for Continued Orthodoxy in Our Midst.”  (The sermon in its entirety is included in this issue of the Concordia Lutheran).

After an offering was received, Professor Lietz presented the class to Pastor Worley, certifying their completion of the curriculum and their eligibility for graduation and for the awarding of their diplomas.  Pastor Worley, assisted by Pastor Paul E. Bloedel of Lebanon, Oregon, the second pastoral member of the C. T. E., then presented to the graduates their diplomas.  Following a special graduation prayer offered by Pastor Bloedel and the singing of Hymn 292, the concluding liturgy (TLH, p, 42ff.) was conducted by Pastor Mensing, including the Apostolic Benediction.

Immediately following the service, those in attendance enjoyed a special dinner and reception in the church’s fellowship wing.  In the preparation of these candidates by way of the Conference’s Concordia Theological Seminary, “the Lord [had] done great things for us, whereof we are glad!” (Psalm 126:3).

Then, as the “crowning touch” to the evening’s festivities, the members of St. Mark’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Sauk Village, Illinois, arose, and its secretary, Erik R. Roe, hand-delivered to Candidate David J. Mensing the congregation’s Diploma of Vocation containing the Solemn Call of the Holy Ghost to be its Pastor.  It had indeed been a most uplifting day, the Holy Spirit of God operating with His precious Word in the hearts of those present and committing to Candidate David Mensing, by the unanimous action of the local congregation, His call to serve St. Mark’s as its shepherd and overseer in the Lord.  Its Pastor-elect would soon, after deliberating upon the call in the fear of God, respond to it in the affirmative, accepting the call by letter on June 4th.  St. Mark’s then set the date for its Pastor’s ordination and installation for Sunday, June 15, at 4 o’clock p.m.

Besides rendering humble gratitude and praise to our almighty, good and gracious God for all His benefits toward us in prospering the work of our seminary, we also want to tender hearty thanks to all the Conference brethren who, with their fervent prayers and with their generous sacrifices, supported our work in the seminary, held up our hands, and strengthened our purpose, enabling all of our congregations together to work toward our common goal, namely, the propagation of the Gospel by faithful pastors for the saving of men’s souls (Romans 10:14-15)!

D. T. M.

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